AFL Round 2 – Collingwood v Carlton (FPS report): Pies find a way to overcome Mick and his Blues

When you go to the footy to watch your team, it is not relaxing, it is not restful. It is stressful and it is draining. Barring the very rare draw it will either end in the highs of victory or the lows of defeat. And when your team is Collingwood and you are playing Carlton, it will end in sweet victory or bitter defeat. There is no middle ground.

This game had been hyped up all summer after Mighty Mick joined the dark side.  Last year’s double-gloating had added even more reasons to footy hate Carlton (note – I have philosophised on this before – footy hate is different from real hate.  Real hate most accurately refers to the sort of historical tensions between India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine and Mighty Mick and the media (when he is not working in it !), rather than that between footy clubs whose supporters can sit intermingled without civil uprising.  I will end this philosophical musing by simply noting that I footy hate Carlton and that my reasons are many and varied.)

Much more significantly than the Mick versus the Pies angle (which the media mercilessly flogged all week, with considerable assistance from Mick), was that after our impressive first-up win and Carlton’s first-round loss it presented a great opportunity to stick the boots into them.  Hard.

The game started poorly for the Pies. In front of a huge crowd the Blues wanted the ball more than us, with Judd prominent early.  When Jolly went off with sore ribs in the first five minutes, a reshuffle was required.  The Q-Stick went into the ruck, where he stayed the vast majority of the day, proving he has a decent tank and lots of heart.   Walker kicked the first three goals of the game, the first after a sloppy turnover from Sidey.  The heavens opened, and we seemed to enjoy the rain, dominating the second half of the quarter and ending it with our noses just in front.  Q-Stick had been excellent in the ruck and had been ably assisted by Blair and Sidey, with Elliott the only spark up forward.

The second quarter started as the first with Carlton more desperate and getting the better of the scoring, with Garlett kicking a superb running goal, crumbing a pack at top speed and haring down the ground and converting.  Jolly was finally subbed off after a vain effort to return.   Mick was having the game played on his terms, a series of defensive scrums around the ground in the greasy conditions, and we got hurt on the break on several occasions, with their quick forwards continuing to cause us trouble. Jordy Russell was having a Barry Crocker for us, conceding two goals to Yarran through defensive errors which his former teammates were quick to make sure he didn’t forget.

Our spark for the quarter came through Sam Dwyer who continued to impress after a terrific debut the previous week as a sub.  He ran harder than anyone else and after an 80 meter run that ended in Sinclair butchering the shot, he thought he better do it himself and converted.  The Blues led by ten points at the main break and their three top possession getters were arguably their best three players, and certainly their best three mids, in Judd, Murphy and Gibbs. In contrast, our top three in Pendles, Travis and Swanny, who had got us over the line with huge efforts in round one, were all having quiet games.  Although we had had more possessions and more inside 50s, the Blues were in front decisively in hard ball gets, which was a telling indicator in the conditions.

The skies cleared at half time and balmy autumn weather returned, quickly drying the ground.  The third quarter saw both teams kick 5.5 as the game opened up and became much more of an end to end shoot-out.  Elliott kicked two for the quarter and was proving a handful for the Blues’ defence, aided by an unlikely forward in Heater, who kicked one and belted another into the goalpost.  We were continuing to get hurt on the break, with neither Russell nor Benny J looking the right match-ups for Yarran and Garlett. I was more than grateful that Betts wasn’t playing.  Benny J looked a lot like a bloke hanging on for dear life when he was indeed penalised for hanging on, probably aware that he has lost a yard or two.  At three-quarter time the margin remained as it was at the main break, ten points to the Blues.  Despite still being partially hopeful, partially optimistic because we at least appeared to have unlocked the ability to score, I did contemplate the potential horror of a third straight loss to the archenemy.

Fortunately our blokes rallied, and we started well, with Sinclair converting after a great tackle from Heater and typically creative play from Pendles, who was finally coming into the game after again being well held by Carrazzo.  We were full of run and things were falling our way.  We had enjoyed the rub of the green for most of the day, and Brown was very lucky not to be penalised in a contest on the wing for falling on top of an opponent before we took the ball down the ground and scored.  Elliott was in everything. The rub of the green was at least slightly balanced out by two appalling centre bounces in the last quarter that the Q-Stick couldn’t get near and which resulted in Carlton scores.

We led by two goals on a couple of occasions in the last quarter and both times butchered opportunities to seal the game through a combination of skill errors and a lack of intensity, with Seedsman a notable culprit in both categories.  The Blues kept on coming and Garlett kicked a freakish goal to keep them in touch. With a couple of minutes to go the ever-industrious Sidey, who had quelled Judd’s influence in the second half, kicked the sealer before Pendles put the icing on the cake with another late goal.

A very good win on a day when we didn’t play all that well, but we found a way to get over the line without huge performances from our cream, all of whom lifted in the last quarter.   While any victory over Carlton is sweet, the main feeling at the end of the game was relief, and knowing that we will have to play better to beat better teams, starting with the Hawks next week.  We will have Daisy back next week, and Fas is close, but maybe not close enough.  After watching the ressies yesterday it is clear that Krak and Didak will need more time.

With the big guns all held, there were some excellent performances from lesser lights.  Elliott’s five goals were probably the difference between the teams and he will continue to improve, having great pace, a decent dose of smarts and being an excellent mark for his size.  He often seems to lack a bit of confidence in his kicking, but kicked well today.  The Q-Stick was positively outstanding in the ruck, being competitive in the hit-outs, and getting 24 possessions, including 13 contested and 6 clearances.  He might be a better player than I had realised and his mobility and endurance were impressive.  Sammy Dwyer is going down the J-Pod/Michael Barlow path, seamlessly making the transition to AFL footy after years in the VFL. A fantastic effort and a real spark both weeks when we have needed one.

Votes for the time-honoured Horsburgh Medal are :

3 –Elliott

2 – Q-Stick

1-  Heater, who did well at both ends.

The Trent Hotton Medal goes to Jamie Elliott.

I look forward to your contributions during the week, including hearing from Dave about the several we had that were pretty ordinary today.

Frankly it will be a relief to have a normal build-up to a game without all the crap we endured this week.   I will end by paraphrasing Stork’s magnificent midweek limerMick


There was an old coach called Mick

Who perceived he’d been given the flick

He implied he’d been boned

He whinged and he moaned

Of which we are all getting quite sick

Floreat Pica



  1. Lord Bogan says

    Nice report Steve, but I wouldn’t get too excited yet. We beat an ordinary team without a ruckman and 7 of our best 22 out. No big deal. Regulation win. Mick who?

  2. Great report Steve. Sam Dwyer is a star, could be the recruit of the year. I really footy hate Carlton. Life is sweet the week after beating the Blues.

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